Grades, notes from Illinois’ 46-7 loss to Purdue


Austin Yattoni

Purdue quarterback David Blough passes the ball during the Illinois vs. Purdue game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

By Tatiania Perry, Staff writer

Rivers vs. Bush

In the 46-7 loss to Purdue, fans took to Twitter to ask the most pressing question: How would this game have looked if M.J. Rivers had played instead?

Based on previous performances, it is clear that players are quite similar. What AJ Bush lacks in the passing game, he makes up for with his legs, but the opposite applies for Rivers, who has shown a strong arm.

The receivers struggled to get open throughout the game, and the offensive line had trouble keeping the quarterback upright, resulting in three sacks.

This season, Rivers has completed a higher percentage of passes, going 46-73 (63 percent), compared with Bush, who is 40-73 (54 percent).  While Bush has run for considerably more yards, the fact that Rivers has made the same amount of passes despite playing one less game may show the coaching staff has more trust in his arm.

Defense wins games

First downs make touchdowns, but defense wins games.

Illinois seems to have found the formula for the first downs, but continue to fall short on the defensive side of the ball.

“Everything (broke down); they ran the football against us, they passed the football,” said head coach Lovie Smith. “But we talk about the big plays.”

Defensive leaders like Bobby Roundtree and Del’Shawn Phillips were barely making whispers on the field.

The missed assignments that allowed large plays humbled the defense, and as the points racked up, they were completely silenced. Penalties ate the Illini alive, with seven infractions going for 57 yards.

“Nothing went right, everything of course went in their way, and that’s what we’ve got to talk about,” Smith said.

Apology to the fans

Nearly 42,000 fans came out to witness what was arguably the worst Illini performance this season. By halftime, the stadium was nearly half-empty.

Smith has pointed out in his postgame press conferences that fans clearly play a large part in the atmosphere and the vibe of Memorial Stadium. When the fans become disappointed, it can sometimes add to the discouragement on the field.

“They gave us a chance like they do every year,”  said running back Reggie Corbin. “They give us one chance, and for the past few years, we have blown it.”


Defense: F

Watching this game, it was clear that the defense has completely fallen apart. What was previously excused as a learning curve can no longer be accepted.

The Illini defense allowed 611 total yards: 227 rushing and 384 passing.

The secondary missed many assignments throughout this game, and the lack of preparation is no longer something to blame on the youth of the team. After playing rather well against Rutgers and withstanding Penn State for three-fourths of the game, there is little to no excuse as to why the defense crumbled almost immediately.

Purdue put up 46 unanswered points after Illinois’ initial touchdown.

The Illini defense knew they had to prepare for the pass-heavy Boilermaker offense, but failed to execute.

Offense: F

The unit came out hot but cooled off immediately after the first touchdown.

Illinois has been prone to a quick start the entire season, and they did, scoring first only seven minutes into the game; however, that was all they did.

AJ Bush seldom connected with his receivers, only throwing for 181 yards, and there was less luck on the ground with only 69 yards.

Reggie Corbin: C-  

Looking at the outcome of the game and the fact that no one player performed above a C, Corbin deserves a low grade. The junior gave everything he had when given the opportunity, but the holes to run through just didn’t hold up long enough for him to execute plays. Corbin collected 20 rushing yards on the day, but hauled in a 52-yard catch.

On a day when few Illini did anything of note, Corbin himself could not break off any chunk-plays running the football, but most of that comes down to the performance of the players around him. 


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